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MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a fragmented region: in spite of its relative cultural and historical homogeneity, it has some of the lowest levels of intra-regional trade, political cooperation and legal migration in the world. This is largely due to the fact that, since the end of the Second World War, it has experienced the full spectrum of political violence. Conventional, hybrid, and civil wars, revolutions, and terrorism have hindered political and economic development, and created fertile ground for further violence. Breaking this ‘conflict trap’ is imperative for the states of the region, as well as those actors who have a stake in it.

For the EU, the MENA is of strategic importance for three reasons: it is an immediate geographic neighbour, a crucial passage for goods traveling to and from Europe (including oil), and it is notoriously unstable. The region’s security and economic situation is consequently closely intertwined with that of Europe. This explains the Union’s desire to contribute to regional stability through different means such as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Barcelona Process and the Union for the Mediterranean. The EUISS seeks to contribute to the EU’s overall effort in the MENA by providing in-depth analyses on a number of key issues affecting the region.

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    05February 2016

    The first EUISS Brief of 2016 looks at the newly created Saudi-led Islamic military alliance, and explains how its purpose is threefold: counter-balance Iranian influence in the region, restore Saudi Arabia’s somewhat tarnished Muslim reputation and create military synergies between signatories.

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    05February 2016

    Over the years, Saudi-Iranian relations have seen numerous ups and downs. This Brief tells the story of their rocky relationship in their own words, starting with the crowning of Saudi Arabia’s first king in 1924 and continuing up until today's latest developments.

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    29January 2016

    One common assumption has been that refugees are leaving camps in Jordan and Lebanon due to difficult conditions and moving on through Turkey into the EU. But because of the northward shift of the Syrian conflict, the reality is somewhat different.

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    29January 2016

    With the suspicion that two newly-registered refugees carried out the November Paris attacks, this Alert explores – and debunks – fears that refugee flows from the Middle East have become a backchannel for terrorists entering Europe.

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    17December 2015

    This Chaillot Paper charts the changes that have taken place in the countries and regions adjacent to the EU over the past two decades, and analyses how the upheavals of recent years have altered the EU’s relationship with and approach to its eastern and southern neighbours.

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    08December 2015

    There are around 5,000 EU citizens currently fighting for ISIL. How are they recruited? What is reality like for them under the rule of the so-called caliphate? And, perhaps most importantly, how and why do they return?

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    17November 2015

    Following the horrific attacks in Paris, this Alert shows how ISIL is, in fact, a cult: an authoritarian organisation which brainwashes its members to the point where mass murder and self-annihilation become not only logical, but desirable.

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    28October 2015

    The last in a mini-series of EUISS publications on hybrid warfare, the Alert assesses the tactics employed by terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) such as ISIL. How do they differ from those of state actors in other parts of the world?

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    22October 2015

    This Alert takes a look at the successes and failures of Turkish refugee policy. What domestic factors are driving the debate in Ankara? And what do Turkish policymakers want and expect from the EU?

  • 12October 2015

    This Brief explores the failure of the Arab League to make good on its desire to create a Joint Arab Force (JAF). What went wrong with the proposal? And is the project now doomed?

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    26June 2015

    With law enforcement agencies pooling resources to counter ISIL's online propaganda, this Alert seeks to raise awareness of the jihadists’ use of the so-called ‘Dark Web’, the hidden underbelly of the little explored Deep Web.

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    12June 2015

    At first sight, Arab parliaments seem to have reverted back to their pre-2011 role as empty shells, rubber-stamping the government’s decisions. This Alert, however, reveals a more nuanced state of affairs whereby Arab parliamentarians in some countries are – slowly – growing into their roles.

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    17April 2015

    This Brief takes a look at the implosion of Yemen’s armed forces, and how this has exacerbated the already dire security situation in the country. It seeks to underline the complexity of the dynamics on the ground, proving that the causes of Yemen’s woes go beyond over-simplistic explanations based on sectarian antagonisms.

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    10April 2015

    It is now four decades since the outbreak of Lebanon’s civil war. But with similar conflicts spreading across the Middle East, the country’s tragic history can still provide useful lessons on how to end such violence.

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    20March 2015

    Algerian decision-making circles have come to the conclusion that the country is once again facing a protracted war with Islamist terrorism. But unlike the dark decade of the 1990’s, Algiers is now combating jihadists which operate across borders and threaten its entire neighbourhood.

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    27February 2015

    Four years after the toppling of Qaddafi, Libya is perilously close to economic collapse. Growing political factionalism and the prevalence of security vacuums have facilitated the proliferation of armed militia groups, while the destruction of the country’s oil infrastructure poses a serious risk to any chance of future economic prosperity.

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    27February 2015

    This Alert examines the effects of the country’s Political Isolation Law (PIL). Although part of a necessary process of political transition, does this ‘deqaddafication law’ go too far?

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    17February 2015

    This report, the outcome of a series of meetings of the Arab Foresight Group, an initiative undertaken by the EUISS, presents three alternative scenarios for the Arab world in 2025. These take into account those ‘megatrends’ which are unlikely to change, and outline three different ways in which policymakers can respond to the crises that currently beset the Middle East and North Africa.

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    06February 2015

    This Alert highlights the extraordinary adaptability of the Lebanese group in operational terms. In what way does it make use of hybrid tactics? And how has it evolved from an asymmetric mountain force into a conventional urban one?

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    30January 2015

    This Brief explains how the internet has increasingly become a tool for extremists to recruit new members, raise funds, and conduct new types of attacks. What can be done to stop the rise of cyber jihadism?

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  • 11December 2009

    The EUISS co-hosted the second Seminar on Turkey and the ESDP at Bosphorus University in Istanbul on 11 December 2009. The debate centred on the assumption that an open CSDP is not only a viable idea, but could also constitute a suitable framework for enhanced security cooperation with third countries in a multipolar world.

  • 30March 2009

    The EUISS organised a one-day Task Force which focused on the situation on the ground after the Gaza crisis; European actors; European policy instruments; and perspectives from different EU institutions.

  • 26January 2009

    The EUISS organised a seminar to consider what relations should be established between the bilateral and multilateral dimensions of Euro-Mediterranean relations to pursue the July 2008 Paris Summit objective, and what agenda Euro-Mediterranean relations should have in the perspective of Barcelona 2010.

  • 14March 2008

    This high-level seminar held in Rabat in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation examined Morocco's relationship with ESDP, including Moroccan involvement in EU and other peacekeeping missions to date, and priorities for cooperation between the EU and its Mediterranean partners.

  • 07March 2008

    The Institute hosted a roundtable discussion where participants discussed the French-led proposal for a Union for the Mediterranean, revisited the principles, achievements and challenges of the existing Barcelona Process, and assessed evolving Euro-Mediterranean challenges.

  • 29October 2007

    This event sought to foster a a transatlantic dialogue on the key questions for a negotiated solution: Palestinian politics; the regional context (including Iran); and the respective roles of the EU and the US in promoting the peace process.

  • 10September 2007

    The EUISS organised a brainstorming session in Paris to dicuss: ‘Is the Barcelona Process at a New Crossroads?’

  • 29June 2007

    The seminar was organised in order to evaluate the current situation in the country (especially in view of the recent mass demonstrations and the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections) and to explore the question of whether the EU has a role to play.

  • 26March 2007

    On 26 March 2007, the Institute held a seminar to analyse the current situation in Lebanon and the potential contribution of the EU and of its member states to the stability of that country in the larger context of the Middle East.

  • 19January 2007

    This conference was organised in order to get a clearer view of Iranian foreign policy, in particular concerning Iran's regional role and EU-Iranian relations.

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